Last week I got to read Miss Emily Goes to Bat to three different classrooms (photos an updates on these coming soon!). I hadn’t read to a group for over a month and was surprised by just how much I’d missed it.
The thing is, I can’t sing. I love music – blues, big band, do-wop, country, reggae, classic rock, 80’s hair bands, 90’s grunge and yes, even the new bands whose lead singers are young enough to be my own kids.
I watch American Idol, The Voice and even that cheesy game show, Don’t forget the Lyrics. But I can’t sing. In fact I’m such a bad singer that when my boys Will and Thom were babies and nursing, anytime I began to sing to them they’d respond with a tiny little hand to my mouth. “Please don’t sing mom, you’re ruining a perfectly good meal here.”
So you see, I’ll never make it as a rock star. Naturally I thought that the acclaim of the crowd (or even my babies) was forever out of my grasp. And then Miss Emily happened and the crowd went wild…
Yes, I know it’s not really me; it’s Miss Emily and Will and Thom that the kids love. Yes, I realize that their laughter is really reserved for the three mice riding on the top of the bus, that their attention is on Rover the Dog as he steps in a pail and they lean forward in their seats –breaths held in anticipation– over Coach Burt’s reaction to the “mess that’s been made”.
But when the story is over and I see the small hands lift up from within the crowd of listeners, not to ask for silence but to ask questions, I realize I might be wrong. I think about the melody in narrative, the tempo in the telling, the chorus of action in all the characters. Maybe I’m just singing a different kind of song after all.